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Demings says DeSantis has been MIA during the surge as test demand outstrips supply

Mayor Jerry Demings.png
Orange County
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings speaks during a COVID briefing on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, in Orlando.

Orange County leaders plan to open a third testing site ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations. Meantime, Mayor Jerry Demings says Floridians should be outraged.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings has called for more leadership from Gov. Ron DeSantis, saying the Republican governor has been missing in action during the latest wave of COVID-19.

Demings on Tuesday said local governments are left with next to no authority to force masks after the Legislature during a special session approved restrictions on mandates.

“Our residents, all Florida residents, should be outraged," said Demings, a Democrat. "And they should ask the question: 'Now, where is our state? Where is our governor? Where is Ron DeSantis?' ”

Demings said testing sites are facing overwhelming demand and Floridians should be outraged.

County leaders on Tuesday announced Tuesday plans to open a third testing site ahead of New Year’s celebrations and two bowl games this week.

The testing site will open Thursday at the South Orange Youth Sports Complex, after waits as long as five hours forced sites at Barnett Park and the Econ Soccer Complex to shut down early.

Dr. Raul Pino of the Orange County health department is urging residents to test before and after gatherings, even as he acknowledges the local supply cannot keep up with demand.

“If we open five sites, the five sites will get full and the five sites will have a two-hour waiting line. That is the reality. A lot of people are wanting to be tested,” he said.

For those who cannot access tests, Pino is urging isolating and masking up, especially people with symptoms.

Officials say the positivity rate in Orange County is at 14%, although the surging numbers of cases has not overwhelmed hospitals. Florida hit a new record for daily cases last weekend, with the state reporting 32,850 new cases on Saturday.

The governor’s office did not immediately responded to an emailed request for comment.

Copyright 2021 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.

Amy Green